The first Matchbook Traders Conference took place today in London’s iconic Emirates Stadium, attracting an overwhelming turnout of 350+ professional traders and pro punters.
Delegates were openly praising the speaker line-up, the robust number of attendees and the quality of food and refreshments served throughout the day. For those who were in it for the long haul, at the conclusion of the sessions, delegates were provided transportation to Gilgamesh where drinks and more food were provided during a conference after party.
Matchbook’s Mark Brosnan told CalvinAyre.com the conference served as a wonderful way to bring together the sports trading industry, a niche within the gambling world without a dedicated conference until now.
Brosnan also expressed his excitement that Matchbook, Brendford FC, FC Midtijylland and Smartodds owner Matt Benham was able to contribute as a “surprise speaker”, much to the delight of the crowd.
Benham participated in a 30 minute casual Q&A style session during which he reiterated his best advice for sports traders: read some good psychology books. He specifically recommended “Thinking, Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, a book exploring gut feelings and the perils of using your gut feel.
“Your gut feel is very poor a lot of the time”, Benham said. When it comes to predicting an outcome within a few minutes it can be good, but the gut feel can be bad in other situations, he shared. He added even though the gut cannot be trusted you cannot turn it off, so you need lots and lots of data and he warned “anything involving nuance is very, very tricky”.
The “Journey of a Pro-Punter” panel zoomed in on the tipping point of going from casual punter to professional. Pro punters Will Wilde, Vasu Shan and Matt Piper took the stage with moderator Scott Ferguson leading the charge and facilitating a productive discussion.
All panellists agreed making money as a pro punter is more challenging than it used to be. “Its getting harder year on year- we’re all looking for the same thing, the first in gets all the value, the rest are getting all the scraps”, said Shan.
One of the challenges of going pro involves setting the right balance between work and family, otherwise a pro punter could find themselves working 20 hours a day, seven days a week. “The problem with gambling is when you lose, you feel the urge to work harder and can end up in a real mess”, said Piper. Striking that balance is important and Vasu shared his strategy of setting a tight family/work routine from which he does not deviate.
Other common challenges include learning how to deal with losing streaks and money management. “The nice thing about the gambling is once you get the big win you get cocky, but you get brought back down to earth rather quickly”, Vasu joked. He added one of the failures he’s seen with punters is money management, something that becomes especially important during a losing streak.
When asked how they deal with the stigma of their careers and explain to others what they do, Vasu says he keeps it simple by saying he “works at football odds” and Piper says he’s a “day trader” and added “people are more receptive today than they used to be” towards this type of profession.
Rasmus Ankersen, Brentford co-director of Football, delivered a fascinating presentation after lunch. He emphasized the benefits of seeking out “talent that whispers” as opposed to “talent that shouts” as the quieter talent likely has a lot of room for growth and development, plus they will be cheaper and in less demand.
Ankersen also explained the importance of understanding context in which performance is created. For example, would you hire a top sales guy from Apple or Microsoft? Most people would say Apple, but its easy to sell a product people are willing to sleep on the street for, he said.
“Look for context where its difficult to shine- that’s where you find talent that whispers”, Andersen said.
The Matchbook Traders Conference also featured several exhibitors, one of which was Betadvisor.com, an industry leading tipster and asset management service. Stefano Saccani, Head of Business Development & Premium Services for Betadvisor told CalvinAyre.com of his company’s new partnership with Matchbook.com and the investment services Betadvisor now offer customers via Matchbook.com accounts.
As the informative day of sessions came to a close, Brosnan was happy to announce £5000 out of registration fees for the conference will be donated to Right To Play, a charity providing volunteer coaches to disadvantaged children who wish to participate in athletic activities. What a wonderful end to a wonderful event, we are already looking forward to what’s in store for next year.